Professor Werner Baer

blog navigation

Professor Werner Baer

It is with much sadness that we share the news that Professor Werner Baer died yesterday following a sudden and brief illness. The Department and University have lost an enormous contributor to the common good: A talented scholar with a
passion for teaching and research, and also simply a passion for life.

We will share more information about services for Professor Baer as we learn of them. The Department will likely also hold a memorial for Prof. Baer in the near future.

Photo: Ryan Fang/The Daily Illini

blog posts

  • Biography

    Werner Baer (1931-2016)

    We mourn the loss of our friend, mentor, and colleague, Professor Werner Baer.

    It is hard to overstate the contributions Werner made to Brazilian Studies, the field of Economics, and to the University of Illinois.  His passing is a moment to reflect on the many ways in which his brilliance, his boundless energy, and his commitment to his students and colleagues have reached all of us.

    Werner Baer joined the faculty at the University of Illinois in 1974.  A specialist in Brazilian developmental economics trained at Harvard University, he devoted his scholarship to understanding the challenges of industrialization, infrastructure and public policy in the development process.  His books The Development of the Brazilian Steel Industry (1970) and Industrialization and Economic Development in Brazil (1965) shaped the field, while his The Brazilian Economy: It’s Growth and Development, now in its sixth edition and published in English, Portuguese and other languages, has long been the most widely read text on Brazil’s economy.  

    Baer was a critical interlocutor on Brazil’s economy, but he was even more a gifted and committed mentor who trained generations of students.  The lifelong ties he sustained with those whom he trained has helped make the University of Illinois a unique center for studies of Brazil.  Through his life-long friendship with Jorge Paulo Lemann, the Lemann Institute for Brazilian Studies was endowed here in 2009.  The hive of activity among students, visiting scholars and faculty around the programs of the Lemann Institute bears the imprint of Werner’s passion for the study of Brazil, and the generosity of spirit he bore as a teacher and mentor.

    He was currently at work on a study of the manners in which key institutions worked within Brazil’s specific context, editing a new book, Institutional Case Studies of Brazil’s Economy. When he recently wrote about this collaboration with colleagues at Illinois and in Brazil, he described the volume with words we might also use to describe him: “the volume as a whole tells us about Brazil.”

    Werner Baer's Faculty Page

  • Celebrating Dr. Werner Baer

    There will be a small funeral for Werner Baer the week of April 4th, for family and close friends. The family prefers that this funeral service remain small and include only his closest and longest friends and colleagues from the Department of Economics and the Lemann Institute.

    The Department and Institute will assist the family in organizing a Memorial Service during the fall semester to which everyone in the University community and beyond will be invited.  At that service, there will be an opportunity for his friends, colleagues, and students to share remembrances about Werner.

  • Leave a Comment

    During this difficult time we love sharing stories of Werner Baer and the impact he has made on our lives.  Please feel free to post your own memories and stories of him, so we may come together to celebrate the wonderful life he lived to the fullest.

    Click on the 'Leave a Comment' title to go to the comment page and add or view memories/stories

If you have any questions, please reach out to the Department of Economics: econ@illinois.edu (217)333-0120